One of the last remaining wild places on earth, Borneo offers a rare treat for the nature lover. It’s one of the world’s last two remaining homes to the orangutan. Among our favourite Borneo destinations is Mulu National Park. Here you can hike through spectacular untouched jungle and visit Asia’s longest cave. The Kinabatangan River is a bird-lover’s paradise. All eight of Borneo’s hornbill varieties are commonly spotted here as well as a variety of other fascinating wildlife such as pygmy elephants. As well visiting the beautiful endangered orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, meet another of the region’s most vulnerable species – the Malaysian sun bear
With its dense rainforests, tropical coastal islands and mysterious jungle valleys, Borneo is a rare destination these days. It’s a place where you can still encounter nature in its truest form, with a rich variety of colourful and endangered wildlife amidst amazing natural scenery. This trip to the Malaysian state of Sabah and Sarawak takes you face to face with many unique species, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys and hornbills.
Breakfast Included: 9 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 4
Welcome to Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah. An arrival airport transfer is included. Please advise your flight details at time of booking so as we can book this transfer for you. There is an important welcome meeting at 6 pm today, which you can find details about at the hotel’s reception. If you have any free time beforehand, perhaps explore this intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Modern-day 'KK' is a lively modern metropolis, having recovered from World War II bombings. The Sabah State Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in its backstory.
Mulu National Park
Fly from Kota Kinabalu to Mulu (approximately 1 hour). In the late afternoon, visit Deer Cave and Lang Cave, which are reached by following a scenic jungle walk that follows a three-kilometre plank walk (in each direction) which passes through peat swamp, alluvial flats and limestone outcrops. At sunset you will watch the millions of bats fly out of Deer Cave and see the large ring shaped formations they make as they circle higher and higher up the cliff face before moving out across the rain forest in spiraling ribbons. You will want to have your camera handy for this magnificent sight.
Mulu National Park
Spend the day exploring the stalagmites and columns of Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave. Located along the Melinau River, Wind Cave is named for the cool breeze that blows through it - make sure you pack a jacket. Later, explore the caverns and crags of Clearwater Cave, one of the longest caves in Asia. For lunch, enjoy a simple picnic with your fellow travellers.
Fly from Mulu back to Kota Kinabalu, arriving in the late afternoon. Tonight, have a special experience as you enjoy a traditional meal of barbecued meats and local specialities in a local family's home. This is a wonderful way to really immerse yourself in everyday life with a family, visiting their home, asking questions and maybe even lending a hand with the cooking!
Fly from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan (approximately 50 minute flight) and on arrival, visit the Sandakan War Memorial. Here you will learn about the city's past as you stand on the same ground of the former Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches. Afterwards, travel by private mini bus to the Kinabatangan River (approx 2.5 hour road journey). Your jungle lodge, located beside the river, is ideal for taking in the lush surrounds. At 560 kilometres, the Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia. It's also a protected forest reserve, containing some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo. Later in the afternoon you take a river cruise, hopefully spotting some of the more exotic local creatures. Wild elephants seldom reveal themselves, but crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan, proboscis monkeys, hornbills and kingfishers are more easily seen. After this short adventure, head back to the lodge to enjoy dinner.
You might awake to the call of a Bornean gibbon, or perhaps a hornbill. Enjoy an early morning cruise through the fog as the sun rises, searching for more birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for long tail macaques and pig tail macaques – ask your leader about the difference. Enjoy coffee, tea and a snack during the cruise, with breakfast served as normal when you return to the lodge. A second river cruise, in the afternoon, will be your last chance to photograph or simply marvel at your surrounds.
Travel by private mini bus to Sepilok (approx 2 hours). In the afternoon you will visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre where you can discover the rainforest from the tree tops. The Canopy Walkway is about 347 m long with two towers (named Bristlehead and Trogon respectively) and a single-column Sunbird Shelter. There are also nature trails on the ground level for you to explore. Enjoy a relaxing evening at your Sepilok hotel, perhaps unwinding with a drink surrounded by the sounds of the rainforest at night time.
This morning visit the orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. It is important not to interrupt the orangutans, to aid in their successful re-introduction to their natural environment. A popular section at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is the outdoor nursery where young orangutans, born in captivity or orphaned, are cared for. Entry here is included in your admittance. Take the chance to view these young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. You will also visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, seeing the world’s smallest bears in large forest enclosures as they are rehabilitated after being rescued. This afternoon is yours to spend as you wish. You have the option to visit the nearby Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, or you may prefer to take a dip in the hotel pool.
Catch a short flight back to Kota Kinabalu. Travel by private mini bus to visit the intriguing Mari Mari Cultural Village, nestled deep in the countryside. Here you will see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. The trip there should take less than an hour. This is a rare opportunity to see what the culture and lifestyle was like here in a bygone era. Witness first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, ignite flame with bamboo, and use a blowpipe to hunt. It's a fun, interactive and educational experience. Later, enjoy a farewell dinner with the group.
Say goodbye to your new companions as your trip ends after breakfast today.